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Johannesburg - Police in Mpumalanga on Tuesday asked the public to help track and bring to justice a gang of armed men who blew open a safe at a petrol station before fatally shooting a motorist.

In a statement Brigadier Leonard Hlathi said the police were looking for assistance in "tracking and bringing to justice a group of men who robbed a filling station and killed a motorist in the wee hours of yesterday" in Kamhlushwa, near Tonga.

"According to information at police disposal a group of armed men, 13 or 14 in number, arrived at the filling station around 03:00. The men who were armed to the tooth with an assortment rifles and pistols reportedly bombed a drop safe, took cigarettes and an undisclosed amount of cash," said Hlathi.

"During the process, a motorist drove in apparently to fill-up his vehicle whereupon the suspects fired at him without giving any warning."

The brigadier said the man who had been shot in the upper body tried to drive away at speed, but lost control of his vehicle and crashed into a nearby house, where he died.

Hlathi said another motorist also drove into the petrol station during the robbery and again the suspects fired at him. Fortunately, the motorist escaped unharmed.

Provincial Commissioner of the police in Mpumalanga, Lieutenant General Mondli Zuma, condemned the senseless killing.

“We will ensure that we do not rest until the heartless murderers are brought to book to answer for their heinous acts, we therefor call upon the community to assist police track this dangerous gang,” said General Zuma.

Police said anyone with information is urged to contact Warrant Officer Mduduzi Shongwe at 082 389 8112 or the SAPS Crimestop number 08600 10111.